Qantas is considering replacing its remaining Boeing 747 jumbos with new-generation jets capable of flying non-stop between Sydney and London or New York by 2022, a move that would introduce direct access from Australia's east coast to the two global financial centres and spark a major reorganisation of the airline's international network.
In an exclusive interview with The Australian Financial Review Magazine, published today, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has for the first time canvassed the Airbus A350-900ULR or Boeing's 777-8 (or 777X) as a legitimate successor to the airline's final six 747-400ERs loosely slated for retirement by 2022-23.
QF CEO Alan Joyce argues that while the 787 is perfect for the lower volume routes the newer larger models are more suitable for flying into slot constrained airports such as LHR, HKG, HND and PEK.
Qantas requirements for SYD-LHR
Qantas management has been pressing both manufacturers to deliver its new ultra-long range planes certified to fly Sydney-London (17,000 kilometres) with and against directional winds and with a payload of at least 300 passengers.
"At the moment, Sydney-New York is probably OK but Sydney-London is hard for both aircraft," Mr Joyce said, though he remains confident the longer mission will ultimately be realised by the manufacturers' programs.
http://www.afr.com/business/transport/a ... 126-gtz0gv